The major opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of having secret plans to rig the 2019 general elections.
The National Chairman of the party, Uche Secondus said this in Abuja on Wednesday while hosting a United Nations delegation which paid a courtesy visit to the party’s national secretariat.
Prior this, the APC received a United Kingdom government delegation led by the Head of West Africa Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, in London, Rob Dixon on Monday evening which also dwelt on the forthcoming 2019 polls.
Addressing the delegation, the party chairman said the conduct of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, since the Buhari-led administration came on board has shown that the 2019 polls might not be credible.
Mr. Secondus alleged that since the ruling party was usually bent on winning all elections, that is an indication that the commission is not ready to do the biddings of the electorate but the government.
“We were in power as a party for 16 years to be precise, we deepened democracy with our actions. In the last general elections of 2015, we lost and conceded defeat, without attempting to go to court.
“It is the first time that a party and its candidate would decide not to contest the outcome of an election in this country. It has never happened in this country. We did not go to court and our candidate did not go to court as well. We realised and decided that the outcome was democracy in action and that it was the will of the people.
“But we have fears today that since the APC came to power, all the elections we have conducted came with huge question marks.”
Mr. Secondus also accused INEC of performing below the expectations of Nigerians in the past couple of years.
“As a matter of fact, this (INEC) is the only electoral body that has conducted elections several times and they (government) will call for a rerun when it is not in their favour. I, therefore, want the delegation to look seriously in the area of free and fair elections that guarantee security.”
The leader of the UN delegation, Serge Kubwimana said his team was in the country on a need assessment mission.
He said they would take different views from political institutions in the country to determine areas of possible assistance to INEC as 2019 approaches.
“This mission has been deployed from the UN headquarters in New York City. It is a mission that has been deployed in response to request on electoral system from the chairperson of INEC.
“And the way we do it in the UN, in order to determine the areas of support, we conduct this type of mission and the overall context in which the election is taking place — the political violence, security and the like, the legal framework, the capacity and the needs of the electoral management body.
“This is really what this mission is here for and our assessment cannot be done without interacting with the main stakeholders — obviously INEC, Civil Society Organisations, political parties and some of the key institutions: the judiciary, the National Assembly and many others…”
Mr. Kubwimana said the UN respects the sovereignty of the country and is only interested in free, fair and credible elections.